The influence of women in the workplace, and more specifically the way women work, is a topic that – for obvious reasons – is never far from my mind. Whilst it’s tricky to talk about this without falling into the trap of making sweeping generalisations, in my experience I’ve found that there really are obvious differences in the ways men and women typically operate within the workplace, and certain defining characteristics about the way women approach their work. A few articles I’ve read recently have got me thinking more about how typically ‘feminine’ ways of thinking and working relate to the workplaces of the future, and the way work is changing - so of course I wanted to share them with you.
First up – a recent essay in the Financial Times, about the impact of women in the workplace, more specifically their impact on a company’s success. Highlights include the observation that:
Women are more likely to consider social, ethical and environmental effects of business…as a result, women are geared to address future customer demands better. Companies that encourage female participation will reap the rewards as environmentally friendly goods and services — as well as responsible business models — become more important to long-term corporate success.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time I’ve come across the little nugget of information that women tend to have stronger ethical business principles than men, and are less willing to compromise their ethics in pursuit of success at work. It seems that when it comes to work, women have a different (...dare I say better?) values system. The article also goes on to address women’s contributions to the economy, noting that:
The British Chambers of Commerce noted that businesses run by women were more likely to launch a new product or service and to harness the benefits of technology to do so. It also found that women were nearly three times as likely to collaborate with research institutions than men. Increasing numbers of women in business will shift business models to be more responsive, customer-driven and tailor products and services to the expectations of future generations.
Another interesting take on this subject that I turn to time and time again, is Jenn Armbrust’s model of the feminine economy (right), which I find very inspiring. She believes that business, and the way we work, is largely determined by a very ‘masculine’ set of ideals - so instead, she proposes a new set of values, based on 'feminine' principles, such as collaboration, sustainability and mindfulness.
Be sure to check out her Proposals For The Feminine Economy too.
The Female Economy - Harvard Business Review
Women In Business section - The Financial Times
P.S. Women Who will be exploring the topic of female entrepreneurs more in the near future. Stay tuned...